I first met Annie Copps when she was the food editor for Yankee Magazine. She came on board during a romantic, misty night in August for a dinner of turkey confit, housemade spaetzle, and I can’t remember what else. We instantly hit it off. Our love of food, local, New England, Maine, and writing just sealed the deal.
That was in 2010, and after naming the Riggin one of the top 10 places to have “Dinner with a View”, we lost touch a bit. But as social media will do for most anyone, we kept in touch sort of watching and cheering for the good work we each were doing. But as it happens in our small, foodie world, things circle back around and Annie (Copps), after adding PBS Food to her extensive resume, is now writing cookbooks. Like me. Her latest is The Little Local Maine Cookbook and it’s a gem filled with traditional Maine recipes, history, and stories. It’s perfect for a gift or for the cookbook collector.
The fantastic part of this whole story is that Annie will be on board August 18 to 20th and we’ll be cooking up a storm, sharing stories, cooking demos, kitchen tips, and lots of delicious food. Plus we’ll laugh. A lot. We’ll be cooking out of each other’s books – recipes such as her delicious Tourtiere, Lobster Rolls (the correct and traditional way, thank you very much), and Blueberry Boy Bait and my Roast Pork Loin with Brandy Cream Sauce, Oysters Mignonette, and Lemon Berry Tartlet.
We’ll be talking about our areas of love and expertise – which of course encompasses anything from knife skills to lobster history and bread baking to recipe development. You’ve got both of us for a full 3 days, so let’s talk food and sample the Annies’ cookbooks to our hearts content!
And, hey, if you can’t make the August 18 to 20th trip, we’ve got a few other foodie cruises that still have limited space. Check out the Maine Food Cruise page on our site for more info.
In the end, is it stuff or experiences that create a sense of fun, satisfaction, or contentment? When I read this article about Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things, it caused me to ponder for a minute some of the choices we’ve made as a family and why. While I will admit, a new car or pair of jeans is fun for a while, the lasting moments in my life come from time spent with friends and family, learning something new, or exploring a new place.
We live in a small house and while there are times when I’m riffling through a magazine, that I covet large living areas, personal crafting studios, and spacious kitchens, in the end I’d rather live in a small space and have fewer things so that I can ride horses or travel. I’d rather learn something new than have something new. I’d rather buy time rather than buy things.
And that’s good news, if we liked buying things our little house would be busting at the seams. As it is, we still find ourselves needing to be intentional about anything new that comes in to our house. As if when one thing comes in, another thing must go out.
Even more so when we are sailing on the Riggin for the summer. If we think our house is small, our cabin is a fraction of that size. And as it turns out, we find that all four of us can live for 4 days or a week out of one or two tote bags without any feeling of deprivation or lack.
All this to say that I’m not sure our stuff defines us, but I am sure our experiences do. There is some serious satisfaction that comes from knowing that we provide an experience for our guests that they can carry with them forever. You make it what it needs to be for you, but we provide the opportunity.
So create experiences for yourself and your family. We’ve got the perfect idea for you – on the Riggin. And, just saying, tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of our Early Booking Special.
Introducing our newest specialty trip – Music and Dancing with Edith & Bennett and The Gawler Family Band! This trip is the first of its kind and we are excited to break the Maine windjamming mold just ever so slightly. The deck of the Riggin will be filled with music and song and our evenings ashore will be packed with concerts and contra dancing. Performed by Edith Gawler, our own former crew member, Bennett Konesni, and The Gawler Family Band, this trip will be filled with music from these diverse, talented musicians. Who knows, maybe we’ll even have a few special guests as well.
Our 4-day/4-night adventure will take us to Belfast and Rockport and an uninhabited island where we’ll feast on lobster and dance on the beach to tunes from fiddle, drum, flute and who knows what else!? (Here’s a sneak peek of fiddle tunes on the beach.) What better way to launch a summer than with the happiness of harmony and the delight of dancing? Here’s a link to a short and sweet video of Edith and Bennett playing in the galley together.
It was one of the best seasons in our 21 years of owning the Riggin, filled with moments that we want to absorb deeply so that as winter settles in, we can unpack and relive them one by one.
Many of our evenings are spent under the darkening sky scattered with millions of twinkling stars and singing harmony with the girls to Jon’s guitar. One night, after music, someone pointed to this strange color in the night sky. It took us but a second to realize that it was aurora borealis, a phenomenon of electrons and light, which magically lit up the night sky.
So many beautiful lobster bakes were shared while sitting on the beach looking out at pine-studded islands, digging feet into the sand, splashing toes in the chilly briny Maine water and feasting on the freshest Maine lobster ever.
Whales! For the first time in over a decade, we saw whales in Penobscot Bay. For some time, we’ve yearned for sightings like we used to have and were blessed this summer. It gives us hope that the bay is changing for the good….
Every Race Week is special, but this year’s was one for the books. Even as we started the race, we were at the head of the pack. After a full day of tacking and strategizing, we were in the last leg and just under the hills of Rockport off Indian Head Light. The wind had died at this point to a whiff, and we were all yearning for the forecast 15 knots. With only two vessels in front of us, we saw wind begin to skim the surface of the water. Seconds later, they began to heal and then heal hard. And the wind was upon us. The Riggin gently healed over and when the physics of the sails began to dominate, she started to move forward and pick up speed. The wind drove her with such purpose as we went from a relaxed, everyday sail to a thrilling chase that had us pulling ahead of one of the two vessels. The Riggin finished 2nd in her class and overall! What a moment!
As always, it is a blessing to spend our summers with you all. We hope that this letter finds you all in the peak of health, in the throes of happy, and surrounded by the love of your family (chosen or given).
As we entered the second floor of the place that we would call home for the next five days, the expansive view of expressive sky, craggy mountains, and lush greenery settled around us, just as the heat and the moist air, like a light shawl or a deep sigh.
I’d forgotten how ‘outside’ living in a tropical climate can be. For us in Maine, most days “outdoor living” means layers of clothing. Even in the summertime when we are sailing, our wool sweaters, down vests, and hand-knit cowls are not far from reach. But here, in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, not only were we without a single wool item or second layer, we looked out at three sides of a view though… nothing. No windows, no walls. While sheltered by the shade of the roof, the rest of the home was open on three sides to all kinds of weather. What happens if there’s a Nor’eater Jon thought? All day rain? Oh, right, not in Maine any longer. Right.
I’d forgotten the feeling of warm air on my skin, even as the sun goes down. Even as the sun is all the way down… no need for layers of clothing because the air is so warm. And no bugs like the Maine state bird (mosquitoes) ready to suck the life blood out of you. Just a couple of beetles and some moths drawn to the light of the night. (Although to be fair to the state of my heart, Maine does not have all sorts of snakes and bugs that can actually kill you.)
Jon and I spent three years in the Caribbean working on a yacht and moving up and down the Windward and Leeward Islands before we bought the Riggin. It’s been years since we’ve been back to a Caribbean climate and it didn’t take long for the sarongs, beach dried hair, and flip flops to feel like normal garb.
The impetus for this trip was to see where Chloe had spent the last 3 months of her studies. Based in the Cloud Forest of Monteverde, she explored the country through the lens of environmental science, studying the climate and natural world of Costa Rica with all of its abundance and diversity.
Our first foray into the mountains of Costa Rica was a hike into the… woods? The sensation of hiking into tree-shrouded trails, feeling the earth beneath our feet, and the birds chirping above felt just like hiking at home, except…. The leaves on the forest floor were not oak and maple, but rather, unknown The trees had abutments, vines, and epiphytes that covered their trunks. The birds did not sound like the birds at home. It was the oddest sensation of the familiar and the not, as if in a dream where you know where you are, but then it shifts into the unknown.
A trip to this country is not complete without the experience of zip lining! I could have gone again and again. Initially created by scientists to study the forest canopy in the 80’s, zip lining has become a staple of the ecotourism trade. Sailing over the tree tops, the unspoiled views are priceless. Our first meal, at Taco Taco a favorite of locals and visitors alike, introduced us to the flavors of the region. And thus I began dancing with avocados, cilantro, and lime. Also there, we had a flight of local beers which were unexpectedly good.
After exploring Chloe’s homebase, we made our way to Santa Teresa, a quintessential beach town with rolling surf, international visitors, and yoga galore. At the southern tip of the Nicoya Pennisula, there is just enough panache in Santa Teresa to make it feel like a groovy destination rather than a distant outpost. That overdevelopment has remained largely in check is due in no small part to the state of the roads one must travel to get there. Not to belabor the point, but these dirt ditches, rivulets, ponds, rock walls, and steep grades are distant cousins to the paved roads of our towns at home and yet, by the end of the week we found ourselves feeling somewhat confident in our driving abilities and blessing the roads that keep Santa Teresa so idyllic and low-key.
Once ensconced in the open air vrbo, we hardly wanted to leave to adventure. And some days we didn’t. Other days we explored the town, the beach, a nature preserve, and of course did some yoga. Casa Zen, recommended by our host for yoga, is a dorm-like hotel attracting all sorts of hipsters and 20-somethings hanging out in hammocks and a community lounge. Pranamar is on the other end of the spectrum with individual cabins set in lush grounds and an open-air yoga studio right next to the meandering pool.
Santa Teresa is known for its Pacific surf, which attracts surfers of all ages. I wanted to get into the water to play in the waves, but had to screw up my courage to make my way into the 10 to 12 foot surf. After riding the waves for a while, with my trusty captain keeping an eagle eye on me, I made my tuckered way to his side on the sand. That said, even after going out into the fray, I’m not sure I was ready to do it again. It might have almost taken even more courage to venture out a second time the strength of the waves was so impressive.
Where we ate: Fishbar – delicious mojitos and every dish was delightful and well-balanced. Habaneros – right on the beach, watched the sun set. Skip the margaritas and go straight for the ceviche, homemade chips, and the specials of the day. The Bakery – After 3 months of tortillas, rice, and beans, Chloe was craving a pastry. She found satisfaction at this little gem which albeit caters to its visiting international clientele.
Sodas – The Tico (local Costa Rican) version of a Maine diner. Perfect for a bite of local eats or a fresh juice.
As we said ‘so long’ to Santa Teresa and made our way off the peninsula, we stopped at Montezuma for a quick hike up to a waterfall. A little bite at Soda Tipica Las Palmeras and we were off to meet the ferry. I swore I would not step foot on a boat while were on vacation, but saving 4 plus hours of driving seemed a small price to pay. The North Haven ferry pales in comparison to this behemoth.
Our last meal in San Jose, a hidden gem called Café Rojo, found only after following the gps in what seemed like one-way devilry, was a delight. A Vietnamese restaurant, set next to a local bookstore and art installation, it felt as if we could have been sitting down to a meal in any city in world. It was the perfect segue back into our busier stateside life.
Thank you Costa Rice for the adventure and relaxation in equal measure. Pura Vida!
Having just returned from a first-ever family vacation, I can attest with absolute certainty that there’s nothing that replaces time with family, making memories. Presents under the tree are wonderful (and the hand-made ones are the best). But even more, the gift of unrestricted time, to allow the day to unfold without an agenda and with each other, is truly without compare.
With that said, we now have a way to order gift certificates online. You don’t need to purchase a whole trip, but could just contribute to a trip for someone you love. I realize now, more poignantly, how we participate in these memories and are honored to do so.
Fantastic articles about the J. & E. Riggin just keep coming. I don’t know what else to say about this write-up in Edible Maine, except I love the story, I love the photos, I love everything about this article. You can read “Three Squares at Sea” out online or order a copy from the Edible Maine website.
For those of you who don’t live in Maine or New England, this month’s issue of Yankee Magazine might be a harder to come by, but if you can get your hands on a copy, do it! Amy Traverso, accomplished writer, has given the Riggin wonderful kudos and Mark Flemming, photographer extraordinaire, adds a lovely balance to her words.
Recipes included in the article are Pecan Sticky Buns, Cornish Game Hens with Smoked Shrimp and Brandy Stuffing, Zucchini Gratin, and Lime Pie Jars. You can also find these recipes in At Home. At Sea – The Red Book, 2nd Edition.